Subject: Physics, Ted, and the future Ted Holden, of talk.origins fame, has often claimed
From: trygve lode
Subject: Physics, Ted, and the future
Organization: Nyx, Public Access Unix @ U. of Denver Math/CS dept.
From: email@example.com (trygve lode)
Ted Holden, of talk.origins fame, has often claimed that future
generations of scientists will look upon him and his beliefs as well as
Velikovsky's with the same sort of reverent appreciation that we now
reserve only for those who have contributed the most to our science and
culture--Madonna, for example. As you might imagine, this has certainly
set me to wondering, "just what will future universities be saying about
physics in years to come?"
With this in mind, and with the benefit of reading several of Jack
Sarfatti's articles on sci.skeptic that show a quantum mechanical basis
for precognition, I decided to attempt to channel just such a university
physics course of the future.
"Ohm...ohm...ohm...ohm...." (Well, what else would you chant?)
#trancemode(FUTURE | PHYSICS | HOLDEN_LIKE)
"Good morning, class, and welcome to the 2826 school year's first
session of 'Alternative Physics 201.'
"Science, above all else, is based on evidence; it cares nothing
for what you personally like and don't like and, no matter what your
personal preferences are for how the universe ought to work, in the end,
the theory that best explains the evidence wins. We can do experiments
in the present, but this is necessarilly a limited exercise, since
experiments performed today can only tell us what the laws of physics
are like today. Mainstream scientists tend to ignore this fundamental
fact and, thus, are hopelessly hamstrung by uniformitarian assumptions
when trying to explain events in the past, many of which simply don't
fit with our current physical theories. Much better, then, would be if
we could somehow find out what the laws of physics really were in the
past, and then use those to explain past events.
"Of course we can't just travel back in time and perform our
experiments back then--and, unfortunately, records from even a few
centuries ago are sparse and incomplete. Back in the early twenty-first
century, all existing records were digitized and stored within the
capacious memory banks of the most powerful computer of all time, the
MegaloMainframe. High-speed data links fed every remote computer in the
world, eliminating the need for local storage devices which soon
vanished from use. Libraries became unnecessary with everything being
instantly available through the world-wide computer network that the
MegaloMainframe serviced; books became useful only as collectors' items.
"Unfortunately, one day a careless user accidentally reformatted
the MegaloMainframe's main storage--and the Sysadmin mounted the backups
and entered the wrong command-line option to the backup program, erasing
all of the world's knowlege with a mistaken keystroke. Few records
survived the ensuing chaos, and most of what we know of civilization
before 2050 comes from facts that the users of the MegaloMainframe
thought were so important that they printed them out and attached them
to the walls of their places of work--so great was the rioting and
destruction that only a few sturdy, fire-resistant office buildings
remained and even these were ransacked by looters who left little but
those few bits of information that the people of that era valued enough
that they attached them reverently to the walls around them.
"What can we learn from these past records? Perhaps most exciting
is the knowlege that even the basic forces of nature were completely
different back then. Gravity, for example, was far weaker than it is
now, and on smaller celestial bodies like the moon, it was so weak that
pencils would simply float away if released. Yet, at the time, there
was another force, probably electromagnetic in nature, that held the
planets together and kept their inhabitants from flying off; lunar
explorers used devices known as "heavy boots" to hold themselves to
the moon without need for gravity.
"It appears that nuclear forces were also quite different in those
days, allowing the formation of many stable elements that are no longer
possible under our current physical laws. While we may never know much
about many of these now-impossible elements and their properties, we
know from the surviving documents that one of the most important and
widely used of these was an element they called Administratium; another
was a material called Thiotimoline, of which we know nothing at all save
that, when resublimated, it developed endochronic properties.
"There remain many other mysteries that the ancients have left for
us to explain--what was the popular and powerful technique of chemical
analysis that nothing remains of but the name--the Roble Hall Purity
Test? What physical laws were there that allowed them to measure
physical beauty (in a unit called millihelens) by the action of boats?
Did the interaction of gravity and the strange electromagnetic forces
of their time permit humans and animals to communicate directly, as they
are shown doing in the few fragments we have found of their most
prestigious scientific journal, the "Far Side"?
"Perhaps the one tidbit that most tantalizes us today is the
knowlege that the ancients understood the seemingly bizarre laws of
physics they lived under so well that the most famous scientist of their
age, a man we know only as "Murphy" was able to codify them all in a
single grand unified law that bears his name. Alas, no records of what
"Murphy's Law" was have yet been discovered, so we can only speculate
upon whether this pinnacle of twenty-first century knowlege would still
apply to our world today...."
Unfortunately, my trance ended upbruptly with an eerie,
authoritarian voice demanding that I insert two Trigannic Pu's for
another three minutes; then there was a click, and I was back in my
ordinary, twentieth-century bedroom.
There you have it, though; Ted Holden's and Velikovsky's theories
seem to be still going strong towards the end of the next millenium, so
perhaps Ted is right after all.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank